Echoes of Vietnam War
Your article on alleged murders by Special Air Service personnel contained a couple of depressingly familiar points (Karen Middleton, “Defence braces for SAS murder charges”, March 21-27). One, Australian soldiers were frustrated at having to release “suspected insurgents”. Two, “strategic objectives were undefined”. This is Vietnam all over again. Troops don’t really know who is an enemy or who is a friend. There is no front line and no well-defined adversary. Further, the war has no defined strategic objective. As in Vietnam, this conflict has long outlived even the issue of war. Nobody now knows why we, let alone America, are in Afghanistan, or what we are trying to achieve. We can’t “win” and don’t know what so-called victory would even look like. Soldiers might have committed atrocities but their culpability is vastly less than the government that sent them into this insanity.
– David Clarke, Battery Point, Tas
Chance to reset society
The immediate challenges of handling the coronavirus crisis are daunting (Mike Seccombe, “What Morrison did wrong on coronavirus”, March 21-27). However, it is highlighting key long-term problems that include a third-rate NBN; a grossly inequitable education system with most private school students set to suffer less disruption than those in public education; dangerous reliance on export of raw materials to a few key customers and further dismantling of our manufacturing industry; homelessness and housing-related poverty as Australians without secure shelter are at high risk; and the level of household debt, due largely to house prices, fuelled partly by Coalition policy. Once the crisis is over, a bipartisan post-mortem with policies drawn from this experience would be a welcome outcome that might begin to rebuild trust in our political system. Unhappily, Scott Morrison’s refusal to include Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese in the national cabinet provides little hope for some mature, inspired leadership.
– Norman Huon, Port Melbourne, Vic
The real Scotty
As someone who dislikes Scott Morrison on lots of levels, even I was straining to swallow this editorial (“Panic! At the Costco”, March 21-27). To blame “Scotty from Marketing” for the panic buying is just way too long a bow to draw. Seriously, this from the media that rides panic with a whip – please. I would also disagree with the idea that Scotty really thinks himself an “everyman”. That is just a political persona that seems to work for him. In reality, he practises a religion that instructs him that he can be one of “The Chosen Ones” in a very selective process to receive God’s salvation in the End Times. This salvation is not going to be available to every man, every woman, or every child, for that matter. It will be only for those who follow his creed. Once you understand that, the miracles and the concept that toilet paper shortages could just be a positive sign, you are probably getting closer to the real Scotty.
– Sue Dellit, Austinmer, NSW
Universal income works
It occurs to me that if we already had a universal income structure in Australia, then a significant proportion of the stress many people are currently under would be drastically reduced. If you were an artist, a contractor, a freelancer et cetera and your normal income disappeared overnight, imagine the comfort of a softer landing created by a basic income available to all Australians. The time is coming when this idea, which used to appear quite outlandish to many, will instead seem logical and perhaps even essential to the economy and to community mental health. I hope this becomes a point of discussion when we arrive at the end of this current crisis.
– Joy Clark, Nairne, SA
Act now on economy
New South Wales politician Andrew Constance was mugged by reality during the bushfires, while Scott Morrison had his holiday then his thoughts and prayers. Now Morrison has his turn, being mugged by coronavirus (Paul Bongiorno, “An uncertain prognosis”, March 21-27). Government-mandated closures are causing the unemployment rate to lift from 5 per cent to 15 per cent, yet despite factoring the cost, every tangible effort has an inbuilt delay. In tandem with acknowledgement that this is bloody serious, still they drag their leaden feet. Announcements of measures to take effect in July? Joking. And that 15 per cent unemployment? As retail collapses, that will look pretty good. Stop being slow off the mark, Scott. To quote you, just stop it. Release the quantum of budget funds here and now. You are adding to the trauma, testing our patience unnecessarily.
– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW
Don’t forget the climate
The coronavirus will abate. A vaccine will be developed. But during this distressing and distracting time, may we not forget climate change. No populace will gain immunity to its woes. Unless all governments act against fossil fuels there will be no controlling the cascade of crises on Earth. For individuals, the equivalent of self-isolation to control climate change will be less consumerism. For instance, a stop to polluting Antarctica and the Arctic with ocean cruisers. A stop to big ships making waves in the canals of Venice. We will need to give more love and more care to our parks and forests worldwide, eat health-giving vegetables, ride bikes and take more walks. Rather than looking forward to returning to the lives we lived before Covid-19, we can use its arrival as the threshold to a new era of reparation.
– Rupert Russell, Mount Molloy, Qld
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 28, 2020.
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